Moved this to chapter 3. Chapter 2 (draft1) incoming after throwing away two pre-drafts.
Everything was dark when Wakefield awoke and he couldn’t remember a thing. For a moment he just lay there breathing into the tight space of his armor. He tried moving his right arm but it didn’t react. He remembered falling. When the crashing behind him started he immediately put up his helmet and turned Ceres to face the danger. Then he and Ceres fell down the cliff.
He couldn’t have survived that. Was he dead? Why weren’t there any noises? No battle? No rescue party? He opened his visor with his left and took a deep breath of fresh air. The sting came immediately. He knew the pain. Rib broken. He shouldn’t breathe in deep. A punctured lung could kill him anytime now.
The sky was grey. No wonder no one was searching for him. The poisonous rain of Risge was infamous. They hadn’t encountered it yet but these clouds looked bad enough. Surely Edwidge had sent the survivors of the attack to make a camp. If there were any. The Squire was a cruel bastard but sharp enough.
Wakefield tried pushing himself up. The pain was intense and it didn’t work. Legs broken. Ribs at least four. Right arm. Left seemed ok. “Ren. Are you alive?” he said with a rustling voice. He could taste a little blood.
“Renuard if I may please!” complained the armor with a metallic voice. “I’m fine. A little dented here and there. But fine.”
“Get me on my feet. Slowly.” Wakefield said. He wasn’t sure this was a good idea but laying there wasn’t much better. Ren did as he was asked too and jangled to an upright position. Wakefield just passed out from the pain in his legs as Ren stood up. A minute later he was back.
“That was unpleasant.” he coughed. ” You need to keep me up and moving is your part for now too.” He looked around and immediately found the dead eyes of Ceres. He had crushed the horse. The proud animal had saved him once again. “Goodbye old friend,” he said and stopped himself from reaching down and laying a hand on the black fur spotted with blood.
Then he looked further. It was bad. Around him, the slope was littered with corpses of horses and men. Four or five wagons had fallen. For a moment he couldn’t take his eyes from the crushed features of the driver of the nearest one. He must have been twelve. Then he found Marcy the seamstress. A kind girl who was irreplaceable for the company. A little further down a black armor lay jumbled like a ragdoll. “Bring me there.” he said “If I pass out, try to get him up and find the company. If I die…” “If you die I dance in heaven and you can carry that corpse of yours alone.” interrupted Ren. Then he started moving. The pain was intense but soon his legs grew numb. Bad sign there.
When they were there he recognized the sigil on the chest. “Gratien” Wakefield said. “is he?” “Dead” remarked Ren. Wakefeld bowed his torso weakly and Ren helped him out. He knocked on the breastplate. “A new armor, isn’t it?” He lay a hand on the sigil. It showed an armor with the head of a snake. “Not new” Ren remarked. ” He just survived very long in this one and it had no user before that.”
“That’s what I meant Ren. Wake him.” A short burst of red light reflected from the silver sigil. “Done.” The armor began jangling. “My head.” it groaned with Gradiens voice that sounded like it was played on a metal instrument. “What happened?”
“Company was attacked from the rear.” Wakefield said “We both fell and were left for dead.” He shook his head slowly. “I did survive. You didn’t.”
“Ah shit.” said the Knight and pushed himself up wavering. “My head doesn’t hurt that bad. Don’t look that way commander. It was only a matter of time. I just wish I wasn’t that… dented. Gotta make an impression when your an armor.”
Wakefield smiled weakly and nodded.
“Wait,” Gradien said suddenly, shock in his voice “Does that mean we have to scrape my.. leftovers… out of me?”
“Ah yes that’s always a little awkward,” Ren responded. “But don’t worry. You can’t smell. Be thankful for that.” Gradian took a step back and held up his hands. “Awkward is not the word I had in mind.”
Wakefield was already scanning the surroundings. He pointed down the slope to a small stream. “The way is flat there. Let’s get off this slope and moving. And Ren shut my visor if I pass out and its starting to rain.” Then they started moving. Half an hour later they were down the slope and Wakefield took a drink at the stream. It was a daring feat bending this far over, but he made it without hurting himself more.
“Everything is going numb. Might well be that I join you as armor soon.” He said and Ren helped him stand up. The first drops started falling. He watched up eyes closed and let a single drop hit his cheek. “Burns” he said and shut his visor.
“This sigil of theirs is a true pain. Shouldn’t this be a wasteland?” Gradien asked and started moving down the stream. Ren followed and Wakefield with him. “The rain.” Ren said in the voice of an annoying grammar teacher “It doesn’t affect nature. Humans only.”
“And the people here adapted. That’s why the Kingdom of Risge is regarded as unconquerable.” Wakefield responded. “It’s not the rain. It’s the people who manage to live and fight in it.” He grunted. “But right now I’m more interested in who attacked us.”
“There was no one behind us. I made sure of that!” Gradien looked back with no expression due to him being an armor now, but Wakefield could hear his hurt pride. The man was commanding the camp guards and scouts. It was his responsibility if they were attacked from the rear. Wakefield wanted to answer. Wanted to tell that he didn’t think it was a rear attack. That whatever happened the veteran had paid the ultimate price. But his lips didn’t move and his vision just went black.
- ren should sound more “dull” or “used up” like he is missing something
- Gradien should react more natural to beeing dead
- more description of the destruction
- More Introduction to the political and military landscape